Exeter-Milligan second graders, from the left, Clint Oldehoeft, Nickalous Wiederspan, Summer Auld and Jaiden Papik have their straw antennas ready to "feel" what junior Nolan Beatham is going to put in front of them.
|Claire White (far right) tosses some "food" to Casey Jindra, the"bird."|
|T. J. Kirkpatrick reaches around to hug a tree while his teacher, Marla Weber, right, and Senior Cassie Harre, left, encourage him.|
During the annual event, which lasted most of the school day, the students experienced nature as bugs and birds do, learned about the weather, learned about plants and animals, played games and made crafts to help remember their day.
Exeter-Milligan second grade teacher, Marla Weber, initially created this educational day as a project when she was in college. She has tried to include an outdoor education day each year for her students.
This year Miss Lorie Sliefert's Biology II class watched a DVD of previous Outdoor Education Day programs to get a better idea of what their part of the program is about. The twelve senior high students got to choose the topic that they would present to the second graders. "Since there was a larger class of Biology II students, students not teaching a session could help the second graders. Second graders look up to the high school students as role models," said Weber.
This year the stations included rain, insects, tracks, trees, birds, wind and senses. To keep things moving during the day the students also played several neature related games. At each station the "students use reading, writing, math, science and social skills, while learning about their environment. Each center was designed with hands-on activities and the students had an opportunity to record their findings in a journal," according to Weber.
Second grader Cammie Harrison shared her favorite part of the day, "I really liked making the bird feeders. That was fun."
Both teachers, Mrs. Weber and Ms. Sliefert, agree that "It is a learning experience for both groups of students. When the high school students have to know how to teach it they realize they have learned a lot."
Many of the high school students had Mrs. Weber for second grade and had fond memories of the outdoor education day. "Some of them were excited about teaching their favorite activity from when they were kids. . .I feel that many of them just enjoyed the whole day. Some of the students were nervous about teaching the second graders because they did not know what to expect. After wards many of the students said that they were amazed with how much they students already knew about the topics. I think many of my students went in thinking that they would have to teach everything, not knowing that the 2nd graders already knew a lot and could answer their questions," said Sliefert
The impact on both groups of students is evident, the second graders have a great time and according to Sliefert, "I think it is an eye opening experience, because they (high school students) get the idea that maybe they could go into elementary ed."
At the end of the day the two groups of students enjoyed a scavenger hunt before heading back to school.. The second grade students had a pile of things they could take home including a animal track plaster cast, a rain stick, a tree ring of their life, and a wind vane along with their journal and some great memories.